I’m the keeper of a big secret. Remember when you were a kid and someone told you their secret and it filled you with power. You knew something that others didn’t. And just like when you were a kid and money burnt a hole in your pocket, there’s a burning desire in you that makes keeping a secret hard, if not impossible. The thrill of telling someone something big, the first to witness the look on their face, the first to hear the truth in their response. The size of the desire and the anticipation too much for a child to be expected to hold.
But now as an adult I hold this secret not as my own but as a custodian for someone else. It makes me a safe place. Someone who can be relied upon. Someone who can be trusted to hold the space while someone else takes the time they need to process and decide what to do with their secret. It’s no longer my role to judge, decide, convince, counsel or reveal. This time my role is simply to be – unattached and indifferent.
And so, as I hold this secret in my hands, the sacred contract between myself and another I can’t help but reflect on how tenuous our relationships with others are. How they are held together by very fine threads of ideals– some which we haven’t outwardly proclaimed but which we expect from each other. Our values around trust, fidelity, what we do and don’t say to others, how we behave with and away from each other. It’s the white space between what we say and what we do where these tenuous threads that hold our relationship together live. No wonder it’s a continuous dance between our own needs, that of another and that of the relationship itself.
Relationships we are told are about give and take. Ying and Yang. One and another. But what I’ve come to learn is that more often than not they are just about giving. Giving without expectation. Giving without returning. Giving in the absence of receiving. When we focus on giving in relationships, we drop the need or the expectations that usually come with it. You know the unspoken words of “if I do this then I can reasonably expect that you will do that”. And even more so, the inevitable disappointment that comes from the other party not meeting these unspoken expectations.
So, as I keep this secret, I know that it’s not about me or my prized position as a confident. But it’s about the other. It’s about having a relationship with someone else that transcends my need to be seen, recognised or acknowledged as special for holding this secret. It’s about those tenuous threads that hold us together. The one that allows them the time to share, process and then reveal their secret in their way that makes them shine. And when the time comes it’s about allowing them their time in the spotlight while I retreat into the background, not needing anything in return.
As a mother it’s about loving, as a leader it’s about leading and as a woman it’s about knowing.
Comment below and let me know what you think.
If you’re interested in exploring your relationships and how your life could transform if you made some mental shifts, then join the waitlist for my Life.Done By Design (beta course) opening for enrolment on the 7th of September 2020.
PS: Having trouble turning off in this challenging time? Then check out the 5 actions I’ve put together for you that you can do in 5 minutes or less to reduce the feelings of stress and overwhelm. Anywhere, anytime. You can access them here.